Das Flößer-Wappen
Raftsmens' crest

Historisches Gemälde zeigt Männer bei einer Floßfahrt
Period of the timber raftsmen 1365 - 1895

Flößer auf Ihrem Holzfloß beim Flößerfest in Schiltach
Raftsmen at the festival


Schiltach, a town of half timber framed buildings, raftsmen and tanners.

Schiltach, a town of half timber framed buildings, raftsmen and tanners.

Timber and rafting industry on the Kinzig river

1365 - 1895 Through the centuries, timber rafting was alive and a pulsating industry in the Kinzig valley and its side valleys. It was the most important industry at that time for its people, who were not blessed by wealth. The earliest evidence of timber rafting in this region dates back to 1339.

At the peak of timber rafting, Schiltach and Wolfach were the two main rafting and timber trading centres on the Kinzig. Each year, between 100 and 300 rafts travelled down the valley to Willstadt where the timber was sold and then regrouped into larger rafts, which then travelled along the Rhein. Holland was often the destination, where the timber was used for ship building and construction.The church weir in Schiltach was the main lashing site where most of the rafts were tied together. This is also where the swell water necessary to float the rafts was dammed.
Reliable sources say that the larger rafts were as long as 600m! Hard to believe today!.

The last Kinzig rafts from Schiltach travelled down the river in 1896, with the exception of a trade exhibition raft journey in 1925.

Schiltach's raftsmen

On May 28th 1998, twelve men from different trades came together in the historical old inn "Zur alten Brücke" to form a rafting group, 100 years after timber rafting had ended. And so, rafting in Schiltach was reborn. Fortunately, the men came from timber related industries such as farming forestry etc.

The Schiltach raftsmen wanted to keep the old traditions alive and remind the public aware of timber rafting. Their first objective was to learn the different skills and techniques required for raft building and then put them into practice. In autumn 2000, the now 18 man strong raftsmen group built a 60m long raft. During the rafting festival on 24th and 25th June 2001 they managed to launch the raft and travel down the Kinzig river.

The Schiltach raft

Technical details:
Size: approx. 60m x 2.40m
Number of raft sections:6
Amount of wood used: 26 running metres
Total weight: 16 tonnes
Building time: 3 months

The raft was built between December 2000 and February 2001. The logs, which had been uprooted during storm Lothar on 26.12.1999 came from the surrounding town woodlands. The raft sections were built using the original techniques of the Schltach raftsmen. The raft was built as an historical mountain- and valley-type raft, with a steering section at the front, four middle raft sections and a braking section, as would have been seen in the Kinzig valley in days gone by.

An additional steering unit with extra rudder would have been added at Wolfach.


  • Stadtverwaltung
  • Marktplatz 6
  • 77761 Schiltach